Welfare reforms are taking their toll, survey

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A survey of Scotland’s 32 local authorities has revealed the financial pressures placed on them by the welfare reform changes made this year.

Known as the ‘bedroom tax’, the changes came into effect on April 1, reducing housing benefit by 14 per cent for those with one ‘extra’ bedroom and 25 per cent for those with two ‘extra’ bedrooms.

These changes apply to councils tenants and tenants of registered social landlords and have already led to sharp rises in rent arrears. Sixty per cent of councils polled by COSLA received 40 per cent or less and 80 per cent of councils reported receiving 50 per cent or less.

All but one with their own housing stock reported an increase in rent arrears with three quarters of councils reporting that non-payment of rent now due following under occupancy changes, is directly responsible for the rise in arrears.

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